An overview on health practitioner regulation in Australia

19/12/2018 | 07:29 AM


The National Law provides a regulatory framework for the accreditation and registration of health practitioners. While this law is nationally consistent, two states have adopted a co-regulatory approach. So, where does AHPRA fit in?

AHPRA and the National Boards work within a dynamic regulatory environment. We are responsible for the registration of every practitioner practising in the  14 regulated health professions across Australia. However, the regulation of these practitioners is  a shared responsibility. If someone wants to make a complaint or raise a concern about a registered health practitioner in most states and territories in Australia, they can visit complaints portal at However, if their complaint is about a registered health practitioner or student in New South Wales (NSW) or Queensland, the process is as follows:

New South Wales

The National Boards and AHPRA do not manage notifications that arise in NSW. Fourteen health professional councils – supported  by the Health Professional Councils Authority (HPCA) and the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) – work together to assess and manage complaints about practitioners’ conduct, health and performance in NSW. The National Boards have no role in handling notifications in NSW. AHPRA has a limited role in accepting mandatory notifications and referring them to the HCCC. AHPRA ensures that all NSW notifications and their outcomes are recorded in the national database to ensure the national registers are accurate and complete.


The National Boards and AHPRA only manage complaints that arise in Queensland if the Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO) refers the complaints.

The OHO recieves all complaints that arise in Queensland. It may refer a complaint to AHPRA and the National Boards if the OHO is satisfied that the complaint is not serious. For more information about the notifications process in Queensland.

Other health-complaint organisations Under the National Law, AHPRA and the National Boards work with health complaints entities (HCEs) in each state and territory to decide which organisation should take responsibility for and manage a complaint or concern raised about a registered health practitioner. HCEs handle complaints about health service providers that AHPRA and National Boards do not regulate, and can provide outcomes that AHPRA and the National Boards cannot, such as:

- an apology or explanation  

-  access to your health records 

- compensation or a refund,

and/or  - an improvement for a hospital, clinic, pharmacy or community health service.

Following is a list of HCEs in each state and territory:

- Australian Capital Territory ACT Human Rights Commission

-  New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission

-  Northern Territory Health and Community Services Complaints Commission

- Queensland Office of the Health Ombudsman

- South Australia Health and Community Services Complaints Commission

 -Tasmania Health Complaints Commissioner

- Victoria Health Complaints Commissioner, and - Western Australia Health and Disability Services Complaints Office.​